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Old 08-02-2020, 05:18 AM   #1
SundownInRetreat
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Default Raiders of the None Arc

Hello, hello.

I thought it apt to revisit that old favourite: films without character arcs - not the central or supporting characters - and toss in some newer titles along the way. This is particularly apt when a major criticism of amateur scripts is the lack of an arc.

The Princess Bride
Escape From New York
Reservoir Dogs
Taken
The Wolf of Wall Street
John Wick


These films are not like the brilliant Paddington, who doesn't arc yet changes those around him, yet they still work brilliantly and are revered. Why?
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Old 08-02-2020, 05:50 AM   #2
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Default Re: Raiders of the None Arc

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Originally Posted by SundownInRetreat View Post
Hello, hello.

I thought it apt to revisit that old favourite: films without character arcs - not the central or supporting characters - and toss in some newer titles along the way. This is particularly apt when a major criticism of amateur scripts is the lack of an arc.

The Princess Bride
Escape From New York
Reservoir Dogs
Taken
The Wolf of Wall Street
John Wick


These films are not like the brilliant Paddington, who doesn't arc yet changes those around him, yet they still work brilliantly and are revered. Why?
The story premise of each title listed is inherently interesting so that readers and audiences (one in the same, truly) want to know the outcome irrespective of whether the main characters or any characters grow or change over the course of the story.
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Last edited by TigerFang : 08-03-2020 at 05:59 AM.
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Old 08-02-2020, 06:35 AM   #3
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Default Re: Raiders of the None Arc

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...films without character arcs... revered. Why?
"Films", as opposed to "scripts"!

Because the scripts for few if any of these you mentioned would have made it past today's "readers", with their checklists and rules and limited imaginations.

I just wanted to get that in there before this thread deteriorates into one of those 15-pagers (that I am now going to ignore) whose inevitable conclusion is that the pros can get away with stuff that amateurs can't.

My opinion? The industry suffers by letting unpaid dough-head interns, some still in high school, serve as its gate-keepers, while at the same time many of the bosses who hire them complain bitterly about "Oh why oh why don't we ever discover a No Country for Old Men; why is it always somebody else? Why oh why oh why..."

'Cause you don't bother to look past some canned metrics you have in your heads that have crowded out your critical sense, that's why.

Goldman: "Nobody knows anything."

Me: "Nobody wants to (truly) read anything."
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Old 08-02-2020, 06:44 AM   #4
SundownInRetreat
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Default Re: Raiders of the None Arc

You're missing the point, Catcon. I'm simply asking why do the above 'work'. I'm not discounting your argument/bugbear but it's tangential at best. Be it in script or film form, the above hit home despite the lack of any arcing. Why? What can we learn from them about storytelling?
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Old 08-02-2020, 07:22 AM   #5
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Default Re: Raiders of the None Arc

Audiences couldn't care less whether or not a movie has characters who arc.

Now pass the popcorn, Professor Psychopants.
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Old 08-02-2020, 09:20 AM   #6
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Default Re: Raiders of the None Arc

Quote:
Originally Posted by SundownInRetreat View Post
Hello, hello.

I thought it apt to revisit that old favourite: films without character arcs - not the central or supporting characters - and toss in some newer titles along the way. This is particularly apt when a major criticism of amateur scripts is the lack of an arc.

The Princess Bride
Escape From New York
Reservoir Dogs
Taken
The Wolf of Wall Street
John Wick


These films are not like the brilliant Paddington, who doesn't arc yet changes those around him, yet they still work brilliantly and are revered. Why?
No ARC is code for I DON'T CARE ABOUT YOUR CHARACTER(s) a lot of the time.A lot of those are ACTION movies -- the character has to struggle a lot to reach their goal -- that's all you need most of the time.

I find NO STAKES, NO ARC, BAD STRUCTURE -- it's all the same thing. Your script did not make me care enough about if your lead character lived or died. Or accomplished their goal.

Not every story works the same. They all don't fall into that STAR WARS zero to hero arc -- a lot of life (and comedies I write) are more subtle. Most of my Arcs are like Dodgeball "they saved the gym"
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Old 08-02-2020, 10:17 AM   #7
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Default Re: Raiders of the None Arc

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Not every story works the same. They all don't fall into that STAR WARS zero to hero arc -- a lot of life (and comedies I write) are more subtle. Most of my Arcs are like Dodgeball "they saved the gym"
Saving a gym is a character arc? Huh, who knew.
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Old 08-02-2020, 10:47 AM   #8
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Default Re: Raiders of the None Arc

I'm saying to me "arcs" and "stakes" are sort of the same thing "note wise" and some movies require the hero to learn a lesson and change -- and others just need the hero to save their daughter from the bad guy.

And some are comedies like Dodgeball and they work together to save the gym -- that's their "arc" and "stakes" but it's not very big at all and not much change.

Point is -- if you take some of these screenwriting rules too far -- you can work your idea in the wrong way. That's the problem with a lot of these "rules" is that not all stories fit the rules and then you get confused.

My rule is simple -- do we care at all if the lead accomplishes their goal?
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Old 08-02-2020, 11:27 AM   #9
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Default Re: Raiders of the None Arc

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Originally Posted by SundownInRetreat View Post
You're missing the point, Catcon. I'm simply asking why do the above 'work'. I'm not discounting your argument/bugbear but it's tangential at best. Be it in script or film form, the above hit home despite the lack of any arcing. Why? What can we learn from them about storytelling?
Simply put, they work because people want to see what happens. There’s usually a goal regardless of an arc, and audiences what to see *how* and *if* it’s met. In Nightcrawler, Luis is off his nut and we know it. He ain’t changing. We know that, too. But we tune in to watch a train wreck in slow motion. And to see if he completes his goal
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Old 08-02-2020, 11:28 AM   #10
SundownInRetreat
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Default Re: Raiders of the None Arc

You'd think the mods would realise I'm talking about screenwriting and not 'films' per se. Yeah, my OP mentioned 'films' but..ah, forget it.
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